Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

Tampa enacts 6 p.m. curfew with Hurricane Irma closing in

TAMPA — Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn today enacted a citywide curfew starting at 6 p.m. after getting Tampa Electric estimates that as much as 60 percent of the city could lack electricity after Hurricane Irma strikes.

Meanwhile, St. Petersburg has enacted a 5 p.m. curfew.

"You may not have power for a number of days, if not weeks," Buckhorn said. "We know that we are ground zero for Hurricane Irma. For 90 years we have avoided this day, but I think our day has come. ... What I am concerned about the most is the storm surge."

Buckhorn and Police Chief Brian Dugan said after 6 p.m. people should be off the streets entirely.

"If you don't need to be out, don't go out," Buckhorn said. "We will be — let me underscore this — we will be very aggressive with anybody that we find looting. There is nothing worse than taking advantage of your fellow citizens at a time like this. We will not tolerate in any way, shape or form anybody we catch engaged in criminal behavior, particularly in the areas that have been hardest-hit by this hurricane."

"If you are out on the street as of 6 o'clock, we are going to challenge you and find out what you're doing out there," Dugan said. "It's very important that everyone stay inside until we give the all-clear."

The city will assess conditions as soon as officials can get police helicopters in the air after the storm and lift the curfew on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis where feasible. An estimated 72,000 people have sought refuge in Hillsborough County shelters.

"Power will be out; trees will be down," Buckhorn said. "Once this storm hits, we can get back out with our crews to help move the debris. We will start with the arterials in the hardest-hit areas to help open up the passageways so that people can get home. The curfew will remain in place until we determine that there is no risk to life from downed power lines or downed trees.

"Be cognizant, once you get back in your neighborhood of who belongs there and who doesn't," Buckhorn said. "You see somebody in your neighborhood who doesn't live there and doesn't belong there, call the Tampa Police Department, and we'll take care of the rest of it."

And officials said the curfew could stay in place in some especially hard-hit areas for several days.

Police said they have been working for three or four days to get homeless people to go to shelters, but, Buckhorn said, "not all of them choose to go."

People violating the curfew could be arrested or given a misdemeanor citation.

As the storm approaches and hits, Tampa police and fire will not be dispatched to calls for help once sustained winds hit 40 mph.

"Do not call 911 if the wind is blowing consistently beyond 40 mph, because we are not going to be able to come and help you," Buckhorn said.

Officials said people can get storm-related text alerts from the city by texting "TampaReady" to 888-777. For alerts in Spanish, text "TampaLista" to 888-777.

City officials say they prepare year-round for an emergency like this one, but Buckhorn acknowledged that Tampa, its public servants and its citizens will be put to the test.

"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face," he said, referring to a comment from former heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson. "Well, we're about to get punched in the face."

Contact Richard Danielson at [email protected] or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times

Comments
Forecast: Morning rain leads to clearing skies, comfortable conditions for Tampa Bay

Forecast: Morning rain leads to clearing skies, comfortable conditions for Tampa Bay

A gray, wet morning commute will lead to more sunshine as a cold front approaches Tampa Bay on Tuesday.[WTSP]Check the latest Tampa Bay-area live radar: The showers are moving in off the Gulf of Mexico, especially affecting early-morning motorists i...
Published: 01/23/18
Forecast: Sunny, high of 78 in Tampa Bay

Forecast: Sunny, high of 78 in Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — Temperatures should reach the upper 70s on a warm, sunny, mild Sunday, kicking off a mild week in Tampa Bay, forecasters predict. 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10News WTSPFeels...
Published: 01/21/18
Forecast: Tampa Bay’s bitter cold snap is finally over

Forecast: Tampa Bay’s bitter cold snap is finally over

Tampa Bay is finally clear of the bitter chill that covered the region this week as temperatures picked up on Saturday. 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around t...
Published: 01/20/18
Forecast: After a chilly morning, normal weather slowly returning to Tampa Bay

Forecast: After a chilly morning, normal weather slowly returning to Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay can finally bid farewell to this week’s stretch of brutally cold conditions.10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around the Tampa Bay area It’s a slow return to normal, as some residents still woke up to frost and sub-freezing temperatures, ...
Published: 01/19/18
On Jan. 18, 2018: Record cold in Tampa Bay. On Jan. 19, 1977: Snow.

On Jan. 18, 2018: Record cold in Tampa Bay. On Jan. 19, 1977: Snow.

One day. Just one day on a calendar separates an epic cold snap from what was arguably the most historic January weather event in Tampa Bay history.On Thursday, the region dealt with a brutal arctic blast produced record low temperatures that caused ...
Published: 01/19/18
Tampa Bay record lows burst pipes, threaten berry and fish farms

Tampa Bay record lows burst pipes, threaten berry and fish farms

In winters past, when they ran the irrigation system at Parkesdale Farms to preserve the berry crop in a protective shell of ice, the icicles measured inches.But on Wednesday night, one of the coldest nights in years, the icicles hung more than a foo...
Published: 01/18/18
Record-breaking cold sends arctic blast through Tampa Bay

Record-breaking cold sends arctic blast through Tampa Bay

It was record-breaking cold this morning as a deep freeze cast over Tampa Bay.Wind-chill advisories are out as feels-like temperatures sit between a bitter 20 and 30 degrees.Tampa tied its recorded for the lowest temperature of 29 degrees on Jan. 18,...
Published: 01/18/18
Winter weather deaths climb to 15 as the South cleans up snow

Winter weather deaths climb to 15 as the South cleans up snow

The deep freeze that shut down much of the South began to relent Thursday as crews salted and cleared roads after a slow-moving storm left ice and snow in places that usually enjoy mild winters. At least 15 people were killed in accidents and frigid ...
Published: 01/18/18
2017 was among the planet’s hottest years on record, government scientists report

2017 was among the planet’s hottest years on record, government scientists report

2017 was among the hottest years ever recorded, government scientists reported Thursday.The year was the second-hottest in recorded history, NASA said, while scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported 2017 was the th...
Published: 01/18/18
Black ice in Tampa? Leaking water truck blamed for crash on Veterans Expressway

Black ice in Tampa? Leaking water truck blamed for crash on Veterans Expressway

TAMPA — A woman in a black BMW encountered a hazard on the Veterans Expressway she probably never expected in Tampa, especially on a dry day.Black ice. The woman was driving south about 6 a.m. Wednesday when she hit a patch of ice just south of Hutch...
Published: 01/18/18